Dick Bourke shares his advice on how to create the ideal scorecard for quality assurance (QA) in the contact centre.
Positive customer engagement is a critical component of any call centre operation. You may think that agents are working at an optimum and things are fine, but are they really? The only true way to know is to implement a QA scorecard to measure critical components.
Scorecards provide the ideal dashboard arrangement of metrics to track, train and develop the assets that are most directly connected and responsible for customer experience, your inbound and multichannel agents. They are also a rich source of data to help understand the root causes of poor service.
Building a call centre QA scorecard is not difficult; you already have the components, it’s just a matter of organising and managing to deliverables. There is a process and we have some ideas to get you started on building a scorecard that will work for your organisation.
Telephone is the main point of contact for many customers, but can also be a source of frustration. When the call centre is staffed with skilled and knowledgeable agents who have the ability to help customers effectively, you can create positive impressions on customers.
However, customers get frustrated if it takes more time than expected. Also phone interactions are typically more complex and come after self-service has been exhausted, making the job of customer service more difficult.
Email is the channel preferred by an increasing number of customers. There are many advantages of email communication over phone. However, the main issue arises when customers expect a prompt response.
Many people would prefer to send an email and wait for reply to avoid the hassle of calling. However, email customer service often fails due to the volumes of mails and delayed response. It is estimated that 16% of customer support agents don’t respond at all, which may cause you to lose a customer.
These days, many companies are employing instant message services on websites to give customers an alternative contact option. Similar to phone, customer questions are answered promptly and the problems are resolved in near real time. Maintaining high standards of service with multiple threads running simultaneously can be a challenge.
The use of social media for customer service offers great opportunities for brands to deal with customer complaints proactively and show others that the company is listening to its customers and is likely to come up with a solution.
Understanding the Variables
Communicating with a customer effectively and in such a way that the customer leaves the engagement with a positive sentiment is vital, and the context of the issue and the channel will change the expectations and nature of the interaction. Skilled agents need to be able to assess and navigate a variety of different interactions.
What Should Be Measured?
The starting point is making two lists:
- What do customers expect?
- What does the business need?
The lists will overlap, but it is important to trap the key components that make the perfect call from the customer’s and the business’s perspective.
Is Everything Equally Important?
The framework below illustrates that as an interaction progresses, the relative importance of its components changes depending on whether it is looked at from the customer’s or the business’s perspective. The weightings in the scorecard should combine to reflect these different goals.
Setting Your Goals and Objectives
Call centres have many shared aspects, but your call centre is unique and you will have components to measure that will vary from other centres.
Try to get specific about your objectives. What KPIs are important? Do you need to alter agent or manager training? Are there corporate or business goals that you need to meet?
By doing this, you’ll have a good idea of what’s working and what could use improvement which you can use as the basis for your QA scorecard.
Include Relevant Team Members
A call centre works best when team members are included in decision making and planning. Everyone who will be impacted by the new QA scorecard should be given the opportunity to provide input.
Agents have invaluable insights on processes, strategies and execution of the customer engagement processes, and their perspectives should be solicited. Plus, you will get better buy-in of new scorecard methodologies if people feel that they are an important part of the design process.
Determine the QA Scorecard Criteria
Now that you have your objectives defined and gathered input from stakeholders, it’s time to start defining the QA scorecard criteria. Some components to consider include: agent problem-solving abilities, protocol compliance, customer service quality, call centre etiquette, script compliance and follow-up. Obviously, you’ll want to design your QA scorecard based on predetermined criteria and KPIs, but don’t get carried away and make it too long or unwieldy. Anywhere from 10 to 20 questions is ideal.
If you have agents that answer all types of calls, you may want to consider creating a branching-style form where certain areas are revealed based on responses. In this way, agents will not have to worry about selecting the appropriate form to use. But, again, design based upon the needs and objectives of your call centre to get the best results. As an overall guideline, the simpler your QA scorecard, the quicker you’ll get to the answers you need without complicating the process.
Test and Implement Your QA Scorecard
Before you unleash a new QA scorecard in your centre, be sure to test it. Enlist all your team members to take part so that you have multiple views of the work.
Be sure to listen to input on the functionality and accuracy of the scorecard. Are the calculations adding up properly? Even spelling errors show a lack of respect for the quality process, so eliminate everything that’s working against QA best practices. When you launch your new QA scorecard, bear in mind that it will probably need some refinements as it is utilised.
You should also plan to hold calibration sessions with the new QA scorecard periodically so that everyone involved has the opportunity to identify areas that should be revised or updated for accuracy and effectiveness.
Collect and Analyse Data
You’ll be capturing a large amount of data once your new QA scorecard has been launched so prepare for collection and analytics in advance.
When reviewing, prioritise information that will help you and your managers identify agent and centre strengths and weaknesses in order to make needed course corrections as well as provide appropriate incentives. Making the data available to all stakeholders will facilitate agent performance improvements and, ultimately, achievement of call centre objectives.
Be sure to incorporate QA scorecard findings in feedback and coaching sessions to directly relate QA components to behaviours and performance.
Your call centre has a huge impact on the company’s brand, making QA a critical component of your operation. Designing and using an effective QA scorecard will go a long way towards meeting perception and customer-loyalty goals.
Designing and implementing a new QA scorecard is one of the best ways to achieve company goals while ensuring that agents and managers are working effectively and rewarded appropriately.